Frequently asked questions
Yes. From 1 May 2015, the IGT is able to assist you to address your complaints about the administrative actions of the ATO.
Yes. From 1 May 2015, the IGT is able to assist you to address your complaints about the administrative actions of the TPB.
Generally, the IGT will not revisit matters which had previously been referred to the Ombudsman unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Exceptional circumstances may include circumstances where significant new material has come to light since the matter was referred to the Ombudsman.
After you make a complaint, an adviser from the IGT’s office will contact you within two (2) business days to discuss your complaint. If we require further information from you, we will ask you during that discussion.
If we can assist you without contacting the ATO or the TPB, we will do so. However, we may need to contact the ATO or the TPB to obtain more information regarding your complaint and to determine how we can best assist you. We will keep you updated regarding our progress.
If you do not hear from us, please contact 1300 44 88 29 Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm Sydney time, and quote your complaint lodgement number with us and one of our advisors will be able to assist you.
The IGT can help you to address complaints about administrative actions (or inaction) of the ATO or the TPB. ‘Administrative action’ is a broad term. It generally covers the fairness and reasonableness of the ATO and TPB’s approach in dealings or interactions with you.
Examples of dealings or interactions the IGT can assist you with include:
- the timeliness of responses to your requests;
- the conduct of ATO or TPB officers;
- the availability of services (such as the Tax Agent Portal); or
- whether the ATO auditor has considered all relevant information provided in your case.
Examples of dealings or interactions the IGT is not empowered to assist you with include:
- rules or laws about your obligation to pay an amount of tax; or
- rules or laws about the quantification of that amount of tax.
If you are unsure whether your concern relates to ‘administrative actions’, please call us.
The IGT can get involved to assist you to address a complaint at any stage during your dispute with the ATO or the TPB.
It is often better to raise any concerns you have during the dispute first with the officer you are dealing with or their manager at the ATO or the TPB. If this does not satisfactorily address your concern, you may approach the complaints section of the ATO or the TPB.
Where these do not satisfactorily address your concerns, you can make a complaint with the IGT. The IGT may intervene to assist you to address any concerns that arise in the course of your dealings with the ATO or the TPB.
The IGT may assist you to address any concerns you may have in relation to the conduct of the ATO or the TPB when litigating matters.
However, the IGT cannot provide you with legal advice in relation to litigation matters. You may wish to consider independent legal advice if your matter is being litigated.
No. The ATO is responsible for ensuring that taxpayers pay the right amount of tax.
If you believe that the amount raised is incorrect, you may challenge the decision. This may be done by way of an objection.
Information on how to object is available on the ATO’s website.
If you are not happy with the objection decision, you may apply for review to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal or the Federal Court of Australia.
You may wish to consider seeking legal or tax advice if you need help in these matters.
The IGT may assist taxpayers to ensure that the audit is fair and transparent. Where appropriate, the IGT may provide advice on how the taxpayer may approach the ATO to address their concerns. In some cases, the IGT may also recommend changes the ATO may make to the audit approach to achieve fair and transparent outcomes.
However, the IGT is not empowered to make decisions as to whether an audit should be commenced or continued and what issues should be audited.
No. The TPB has responsibility for dealing with complaints against all registered tax agents and business activity statement (BAS) agents in Australia. Details on how you can lodge a complaint against your tax agent are available on the Tax Practitioners Board’s website.
If you are not happy with the way in which the TPB has handled your approach, you can make a complaint with the IGT.
No. The TPB is responsible for registering tax agents and BAS agents. If you are not happy with the TPB’s decision, you can apply for it to be reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Further information is available on the Tax Practitioners Board’s website.
No. The IGT cannot assist you to address any complaints in relation to the AAT or any other courts or tribunals.
If you need information about your tax affairs, you should contact the ATO.
Alternatively, you may wish to consider seeking advice from a registered tax agent.
If you are not satisfied with a decision we have made in respect of your complaint, you can request your case be reviewed.
In order to assist us to review your matter, you need to tell us how we have reached the wrong decision or provide us with new and important information that is relevant to the decision we have made.
If we agree to review our decision, your request will be assigned to a staff member who was not involved in handling your complaint. We will only review a decision once.
A review is not a reinvestigation of a complaint. We are looking at whether the processes adopted by our staff in reaching the decision were fair and appropriate and the decision reached was reasonable having regard to the circumstances and information available.
If you remain dissatisfied with our decision, you may seek judicial review under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977. We are unable to advise you on this course of action and if you wish to pursue it, you should consider seeking independent legal advice.
The IGT welcomes opportunities to improve the service we deliver to the community. If you are not satisfied with our service, or believe our processes can be improved, please let us know. You can provide feedback or raise your concerns by:
- speaking to the officer handling your matter. If they are unable to address your concerns, they will make a record of it and consult their manager to determine the most appropriate course of action; or
- speaking to the officer’s supervisor, if you feel unable to speak directly to the officer concerned.
All applications for access to information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 may be lodged by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We will respond to you within 28 days of receiving the application.
Please note that depending on the volume of information requested, there may be a fee payable.
In most cases, if you are seeking information related to your own tax affairs, it is easier and quicker for you to contact the ATO directly.
If you have any concerns regarding the ways in which we have handled your information, you may lodge your complaint at email@example.com.
In most cases, the adviser who responds to your call will be able to address your concerns directly. If they are unable to assist, you may request to speak with a manager.
Rights and obligations in making a complaint [PDF 434KB]